Neuroendocrine differentiation is a frequent occurrence in common prostatic adenocarcinomas and may have prognostic implications in prostatic malignancies. In the present study, we used immunohistochemical double label methods to evaluate the nuclear androgen receptor (AR) status in endocrine-paracrine (EP) cells of normal, hyperplastic, and neoplastic prostate including tumours that recurred after hormonal and radiation therapy. In normal and hyperplastic glands, EP cells characterized by the panendocrine marker chromogranin A (Chr A) did not reveal AR-positivity. This may indicate that prostatic EP cells represent an androgen-independent cell population whose regulatory functions are not influenced by circulating androgens. Unequivocal co-expression of Chr A and AR was very rarely detected in subsets of endocrine differentiated tumour cells in treated and untreated specimens. The widespread absence of nuclear AR in neuroendocrine tumour cells suggests that this phenotype belongs to those cell clones in prostate cancer which are initially androgen-independent and refractory to hormonal therapy.